Sunday, January 28, 2007

Christopher Columbus: OMOM Essay 36

In this "About the Sculpture" I zoom in from the sculpture as a whole to one detail: the gesture of Columbus's left hand. Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan adds a comparison with Roscoe Conkling's hand (Essay 18) to the comparison with Vanderbilt's hand that appeared in Forgotten Delights: The Producers.

"About the Subject" mentions a few of the festivities honoring the 400th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage to America. Among them was the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the setting for Erik Larson's bestseller The Devil in the White City. (I rarely read true crime stories, but that one was excellent.)

In my usual obsession with identifying details (see America in Essay 4 and the Washington Arch, Essay 12), I spent considerable time trying to get a good view of the medallion hanging around Columbus's neck. I'm fairly certain it's a woman, and I'd guess that it's Columbus's patron Queen Isabella - but it might be the Virgin Mary. I didn't have the nerve to ask the Parks Department if I could borrow one of their phone-repair cherry-picker tree-trimmer lifts to inspect it more closely.

If you admire Columbus, go to the Columbus Monuments Pages: the man who runs the site attempts to list and post an image of every known sculpture of Columbus. Of those I've seen, my favorite is one by Ludwig Habich at Bremerhaven, Germany. Look it up in the geographical index in the left-hand frame.

No comments: